In Davinder Heaven v HMRC [2017] TC05992 a lack of suitable evidence resulted in penalties for deliberate error for omissions from a tax return for a stressed lawyer.

  • Mrs Heaven was a lawyer who admitted to submitting inaccurate partnership tax returns for several years as she was in a ‘blind panic’ through over-work.
  • She omitted income and interest from her tax returns despite engaging accountants to prepare her accounts.
  • She could not explain the source of certain untaxed deposits into accounts she had opened in a client’s name.
  • She did not declare some interest and claimed it was taxed at source.
  • HMRC assessed unpaid tax and penalties under section 24 FA 2007 for deliberate behaviour leading to a loss of tax.

The tribunal noted a lack of evidence to support the taxpayer’s claim that she was suffering from post natal depression, her husband was unaware of the issue and it did not appear to affect her legal work.

On the balance of probabilities the FTT confirmed penalties for deliberate and concealed behaviour in respect of the untaxed deposit and deliberate behaviour in failing to declare interest received.


Cases where penalties are imposed for deliberate behaviour are rare: qualified professionals be they lawyers or accountants etc are expected to uphold the highest of standards.

Davinder Heaven v HMRC [2017] TC05992

Useful guides

Penalties for error and mistake

How to appeal a tax penalty

Penalties for accountants, advisers and agents